Bemus Point Blaze

Stubborn Fire Rips Through Iconic Fine Dining Restaurant

Several fire departments battled a structure fire at Ye Hare 'N Hounds in Bemus Point on Wednesday night. P-J photo by Jimmy McCarthy

BEMUS POINT — More than 100 firefighters from several departments battled a stubborn structure fire Wednesday night at an iconic Bemus Point fine dining restaurant.

First responders were alerted after 9 p.m. to the blaze at Ye Hare ‘n Hounds Inn, 64 Lakeside Drive, in the village. The blaze was reportedly caused by an exhaust chimney pipe for the kitchen broiler that deteriorated and allowed heat from the broiler to get into the wall studs and spread to the second floor, the Chautauqua County Fire Investigation Team announced early Thursday.

Mike Winne, Bemus Point fire chief, said the fire proved difficult to manage due to the building’s construction. He did credit the mutual aid response in helping to eventually bring the fire under control.

“It’s a very old building,” Winne said. “They added on to it over the years. It made it very hard to get to the fire. It got away from us and was stuck behind old walls. We couldn’t get to it.”

Winne said a firefighter was treated for minor injuries.

A firefighter was treated for minor injuries Wednesday night. Fire officials could not determine an exact cause of the blaze. P-J photo by Jimmy McCarthy

Assisting Bemus Point were Chautauqua, Ellery Center, Busti, Ashville, Dewittville, Lakewood, Maple Springs and Fluvanna fire departments. In addition, several ambulance crews from throughout the area were called to assist.

Smoke continued to billow from the Lakeside Drive structure more than two hours after crews first arrived. Several firefighters were also seen on the roof of the building throughout the incident.

Members of the Chautauqua County Fire Investigation Team were called to the scene.

According to the restaurant’s website, Ye Hare ‘n Hounds Inn — also known locally as Hare and Hounds — was built as a replica of an English Inn. It opened in 1915 as a private retreat for the Emery Family, and was established as the Hare and Hounds restaurant in 1921.